Papilio helenus helenus

Linnaeus 1758 - The Red Helen

Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan.

A large and relatively common species. There are several species which have white patches on the hindwings, but only two have been found here. The other, Papilio iswara is considerably larger (and much rarer), and is possibly the largest butterfly to be found on Islands, and has the the white hind wing patch extending into four cells, instead of three for this species.

During the wet season, the butterfly loses the red spots on the hind wing upperside, though they remain on the underside.

This is primarily a butterfly of the forests, though it can be seen on the forest edge, usually puddling alongside streams.

Flight Period



80 - 115mm

Early Stages

Fully known. More detailed life history information is available from the following resources: S. Igarishi - Life Histories of Asian Butterflies, Volume.2 , Page 326.

Larval Foodplant

Rutaceae species.


Sri Lanka and India to South Japan and China, throughout Sundaland to the Philippines and Indonesia as far as Timor.